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New program to provide meals, check-ins for area seniors
senior citizen
Legacy Health Endowment and Covenant Care Home and Hospice partnered to pilot a Meals on Wheels and Well Check Calls program.

A program providing free meals and daily check-in calls to some of the most at-risk and isolated residents of Stanislaus County and northern Merced County is now open to the public.

Seniors are facing the most severe risks and complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of stay-at-home recommendations, many have limited interaction with their neighbors and families and often can’t get groceries on their own.

In response, Legacy Health Endowment and Covenant Care Home and Hospice partnered to pilot a Meals on Wheels and Well Check Calls program. The program is now open to other needy seniors in the area.

This program provides free meals Monday through Friday and a daily wellness phone call. If a senior cannot be reached, or is having an emergency, Covenant Care staff is prepared to step in to get them the help they need. Meals are prepared by the United Samaritan’s Foundation, which has a long history of providing fresh and balanced meals for hundreds of seniors each week through their existing senior feeding programs.

“Helping ensure that every senior is safe, and has access to needed medical care and food, is a priority of LHE,” said Jeffrey Lewis, President and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment. “We are partnering with Covenant Care at Home because they represent the best combination of excellence and caring. Under the direction of Ronda Malmberg, they continue to excel in helping seniors survive this pandemic.”

The risks to seniors in lockdown are evident both locally and nationwide. According to a study published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, two-thirds of the residents at a Chicago-area nursing home that cut off outside visitors and limited social interaction experienced weight loss. The CDC reports that social isolation leads to a 50 percent increased risk of dementia and premature death rates — statistics on par with smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.

“Covenant Care at Home’s nurses are seeing more depression and food insecurity with the isolation that COVID-19 has imposed on our older population,” said Malmberg, Home Health Administrator for Covenant Care at Home. “This program makes a great effort to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic locally.”

Access to the program will not require a prior hospital stay, but slots are limited. To see if you or a loved one is eligible to apply by calling (209) 250-5200 and choosing option 5, “Wellness Check.” The program is only open to the following zip codes: 95301, 95303, 95307, 95313, 95315, 95316, 95322, 95324, 95326, 95328, 95334, 95358, 95360, 95363, 95374, 95380, 95381, 95382, and 95388.